May 24, 2012

Chapel Noir ***

*** Chapel Noir, Carole Nelson Douglas, 2001

Chapel Noir is a departure from the pattern of the previous four. First, it's told from three different viewpoints. Second, it's a cliff-hanger, continued in Castle Rouge. Third, it's darker and more graphic, dealing as it does with Jack the Ripper.

It still has many of the elements that attracted me to the series:
  • Extension to the Holmes canon.
  • Stylistically consistent with the canon (excepting the some of the alternate viewpoint material).
  • Cameo Holmes appearances, actually, fairly substantive appearances.
  • Cameo appearances of historical characters (quite a few, and very cleverly done)
There continue to be, for me, some very skimmable passages of fashion, description, and back story. There are moments when Nell's obtuse naivete strains credulity and her moralizing personality begins to wear. Although, based on some dramatic developments at the end, I suspect that might be attenuated somewhat in the future. Or not.

Here is a descriptive passage I found to be particularly incisive, a description of a madame in a Paris bordello:
Her red hair was frizzled into a fright wig. Her decolletage overflowed a wasp-waisted bodice like two loaves of unbaked French bred. She had a sharp nose above a cheese-soft chin that faded into the high collar of fat cushioning her throat like a necklace of fleshy aspic. Her bead-bright eyes moved like roaches in the suet pudding of her face to study us.


Mark Spyrison said...

Sounds interesting, though I would've dropped the last sentence in her descriptive paragraph. Less is more and what Douglas provided was more than adequate. Plus, "moved like roaches in the suet pudding" was overwriting.

Brad Whittington said...

That was my favorite sentence.